The Selden Map of China

This is the official website of the Selden Map of China (Bodleian Library, MS.Selden supra 105).

The map was left to the Bodleian Library by the London lawyer John Selden in 1659, and has been famous as an interesting curiosity ever since. But only in January 2008, when the visiting scholar Robert Batchelor noticed the very faint lines indicating trade routes and compass bearings from the port of Quanzhou to all parts of East Asia and beyond, was the immense significance of the map realised.

The map was in a very bad state, having been backed with linen in the early 20th century… These pages present what we currently know about the map and offer a high-resolution image of it. They also begin the process of putting it into a greater cultural and historical context. They chart the course of its restoration, and give details of the forthcoming colloquium. There is also an essays page, to which contributions are welcome, and a blog for news.